The Way - Day 170 (2 Timothy 4)

Daily Reading:
2 Timothy 4
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
Read verses 3-4 aloud. In what ways do you see this manifesting in our world today? Where do you see it in your own life? What can you do to fight against it in your own life?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 81:10
OPTION 2: Proverbs 20:27
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:25-26
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for 2 Timothy 4 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
2 TIMOTHY 4:1-5
Paul feared that Timothy was losing his passion for ministry because of the tremendous pressure coming from false teachers, immature people in the church, and persecutors of the church. Out of concern for Timothy, Paul wrote this letter and challenged him to "stir up the gift of God...for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:6-7). Instead of fearing people, Paul commanded Timothy to be more concerned about God's view of him. One day Jesus will "judge the living and the dead at his appearing and His kingdom" (4:1). This was Paul's way of reminding Timothy that God was watching his ministry and in the future will evaluate him according to his faithfulness. Then, with passion in his pen Paul writes "Preach the word! Be instant in season and out of season" (4:2a). This means he should preach the gospel when it is popular and even when it is not. Preaching was to consist of convincing and rebuking (correcting sinful behavior) as well as exhorting and teaching (instructing in doctrine). Paul warns that the time would come when people will believe false teaching and only desire to hear what makes them feel good (4:2-4). Timothy was to preach the entire word of God without compromise and "be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your [his] ministry" (4:5). It is easier to quit than to continue doing something which is not popular, but Timothy was to be faithful in all things. Even when things got tough, he was to carry on. I believe the command is the same for those who name the name of Jesus Christ - we must faithfully spread the message of salvation to all people, tribes, tongues, and nations. We should not back down. We should not give up but we should be faithful until our work on earth is done!

2 TIMOTHY 4:6-8
We must keep in mind that one of the big reasons Paul wrote this letter to Timothy was because he was nearing the end of his life and was, in a sense, passing the torch of leadership on to Timothy. If Timothy was to quit or lose heart, Paul's ministry may not continue into the next generation. Paul's time was short here on earth and he fully recognized that fact. Paul writes "for I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand" (4:6). However, even though his life was about to come to a close, he was able to reflect back on what God had accomplished through his willingness to be used. His words are strong and an important reminder for all of us to be faithful to God's purposes until the end: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (4:7). Paul had lived his Christian life as a soldier (one who was not distracted by the world), an athlete (one who did not quit until he had finished God's will), and a devoted follower of Jesus Christ (one who had obeyed God until the end). Because he was faithful in this life, Paul knew there was a "crown of righteousness" in store for him when he would appear before Jesus Christ (4:8). This crown of righteousness was probably not a literal crown, but rather the future righteousness a believer will receive at Christ's appearing. This time will signify that our work on earth is done and that we have been granted eternal righteousness - something we have never before experienced. Paul knew the hardships of this life could not compare with the future glory he would experience one day. I believe this attitude is what sustained Paul through many trials. It is as if Paul is trying to challenge Timothy to be faithful to God because eternal life will be the reward which makes all the earthly struggle worth it. Maybe today you want to give up and quit. Just remember that your current hardships are only temporary and God will reward you with eternal righteousness!

2 TIMOTHY 4:9-22
In his concluding words of this letter, Paul asked Timothy to come quickly to visit him in prison because he was well aware that his days were few (4:9). Paul provided Timothy with a couple updates on people who were working alongside him in the ministry. He wrote that Demas had forsaken him "having loved this present world." Demas had apparently abandoned Paul as the pressure mounted and forsook his friend. Paul had sent Crescens and Titus to minister in different places and only Luke remained with him (4:10-11a). Paul did request that Timothy bring Mark with him "for he is useful to me for ministry." This is an amazing statement because according to Acts 15:36-41 Paul and Barnabas had a falling out over John Mark. It appears that John Mark had abandoned them earlier and Paul felt Mark was not ready to minister. But in this letter to Timothy, Paul's heart had changed toward John Mark and he felt that Mark had matured in his faith. Paul gives some other final instructions in his letter to Timothy (4:12-16) and Paul closes his letter with some powerful words. "But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!" Paul had a life of hardship and persecution, but the Lord sustained Him so that he might be able to spread the gospel to the Gentiles. He was faithful to complete the work entrusted to him by God because he knew he would soon enter into His heavenly kingdom. In essence, Paul was giving testimony of God's faithfulness to him during his ministry so that Timothy would know that God would also sustain him through much adversity. I guess if there is one overriding message of Paul's second letter to Timothy it is this - Be faithful to God until the end! We must closely examine our hearts and daily commit to carrying out God's work. We must never give up. We must never quit. We must be faithful because the glories which await us pale in comparison to what God has in store for those who love Him.

Dear God, help me to be faithful to the end and look forward to eternity with You.